The game is changing
Published: Monday, August 27, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 13:08
Times have changed. Rules have changed. The game has changed. Football has come a long way in the last 10 years. Some of that is good, some is bad, and other changes are just out of necessity.
Football now stands on its own pedestal as the most popular sport in America today. Yet fans of this game are complaining now more than ever, especially when it comes to the NFL. In some cases, all the fussing is understandable. It particularly is irritating to hear about all the arrests that occur during the offseason and even throughout the regular season. I mean, the Detroit Lions could probably give the Sons of Anarchy crew a run for their money on days spent in jail.
But even with all the hoopla off the field, the main thing fans are complaining about happens to be the main issue in the NFL, and football in general. Concussions.
Obviously fans aren’t complaining about the number of concussions that occur, more so about the restrictions the league has enforced to diminish the injury. One of the most scrutinized policy, which began last year, is moving the kickoff up five yards to the 35-yard line. Kickoff returns, arguably the most exciting part of games, but also the most dangerous, is now overwhelmed with touchbacks.
Complaints upon complaints have been heard on TV, in the newspapers, and at your local sports bars. I dislike this rule just as much as others, but I ask these fans to sincerely look at the situation commissioner Roger Goodell is in. Stuck in between crabby fans and lawsuit-filing former NFL players, Goodell had to make a choice. I believe he made the right one.
Concussions have always been a part of football. But the lasting damage sustained from concussions has recently been under the scope. A string of former players have committed suicide and the deaths may be linked through brain-related injuries sustained during their playing days.
Goodell has no other option. Getting rid of concussions completely may be next to impossible. But if the commissioner has to make a policy, such as moving the kickoff up, that will greatly reduce concussions, he should not hesitate. And he didn’t.
Whether fans like it or not, the game is changing. If a safer game means a slightly less exciting game, then we may all just have to bite our tongues. Complaining about something that could possibly save lives, even if it’s one, is going to get you nowhere.
I think one reason most fans moan about all the safety measures is because they are not familiar with concussions. They see a dazed linebacker walk off the field fine and they think he should get right back in there after a few plays. The thing with concussions is that no one knows if one has occurred until the recipient has taken a proper test. Even trainers are still familiarizing themselves with the symptoms and whether a player is ok to continue playing or not.
Here at NDSU, Sam Ojuri and Grant Olson, both huge contributors to their respective sides of the ball, were held out of some fall camp practices due to concussion symptoms. Although it was just a minor thing, precautions were taken place and likely prevented more serious symptoms to occur.
Player safety is the number one goal these days. That sounds weird when it comes to such a violent game like football. But that is where we’re at today. Changes have been made and more may come. Football is football though, and true fans will continue to watch every weekend, where the only moaning will be about play-calls, turnovers, and hangovers.